Somewhere between "Risk" and "Civilization" lies "Colonial Conquest," a new turn-based strategy title from Argonauts Interactive. It’s closely related to but not a direct remake of a 1985 strategy game of the same title, one that sees the player control one of the world’s great powers near the turn of the 19th century.
Through a simple interface and straightforward game mechanics, players vie for the most victory points. These points are awarded based on territories controlled and battles won or lost, making every step of the game an important one. Wars are fought on a strategic scale, with military production consisting of armies and ships that are used to attack and defend territories.
The player can control Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Japan or the U.S., all of which require drastically different strategies courtesy of geography, and terrain can yield different advantages. Turns unfold over seasons that cover the years, with the first season allowing the player to build, spy, bribe and attack. The three later seasons simply offer attack phases, making them somewhat less interesting.
Originating with a Kickstarter earlier this year, "Colonial Conquest" provides a light but compelling gaming experience for those inclined towards conquer-the-world strategy titles. One won’t find anywhere near the depth of the "Civilization" or "Europa Universalis" series, but it adds enjoyable complexity to the child-oriented gameplay of Risk.
In fact, its multiplayer component may yet prove to be its strong suit among fans, as the ease of play and scale makes it conducive to games with friends.
The design is modest but elegant, with the title running flawlessly on my embarrassingly slow laptop. One does come to miss the visual flair other titles can bring to the clashing of great armies across nations, but considering the title’s ease of use, it’s a minor complaint.